Nov 20th 2020

CMP Remote Working Manifesto


 

Since the early days of CMP we’ve tried to embed the principles of Agile working at the charity. This means trying to reflect and learn as we go to continually improve our practice.

This year those reflections have inevitably involved remote working and the consequences of closing the office for a prolonged period of time. As we approached Lockdown 2.0, we gave some thought to what we’ve learned and how we’ve adapted. We found some useful insights in the RSA’s Making Remote Work Good Work.

We already use a range of digital tools like Slack and Trello to communicate within the team but on their own these tools aren’t enough (NB we use Clockify to track our hours and time spent on projects). These digital tools don’t address some of the other aspects of communication and care that we are better able to achieve when we’re in the office together.

Here’s the list we came up with. We’d love to hear your ideas too.

  1. No one can be productive 100% of the time. Remote working can be draining, and you might find your energy dips. Don’t worry. Take some time away from the laptop to do something which replenishes you – take a walk, do something creative, listen to some music or a podcastPlease share anything you find enjoyable with other colleagues on Slack.  
  2. Take a wellbeing break – If you think your mental health is suffering and you are feeling overwhelmed, please take some time outTalk to your line manager about taking some extra time off (in certain circumstances CMP can offer additional paid leave for those who need a wellbeing break). Please don’t wait until things get really bad before you discuss this with your line manager. 
  3. Work the hours that suit you – for example it’s fine to start earlier and finish earlier if you want to make sure you have some time outside when it is still light. 
  4. Keep an eye on your hours – Clockify can help you see if you are working too much. If a pattern of excessive hours is emerging, talk to your line manager about strategies to address this.
  5. Be a proactive communicator – show up to the Monday morning catch up if you can and be prepared to talk through your week ahead and flag up anything colleagues need to know.
  6. Be sociable: Tuesday and Thursday ‘afternoon tea’ catch ups are open to everyone and Wednesday morning Fun Palace sessions are where you can come and learn something new from a colleague or share your skills with your team members. These sessions are open to all but not compulsory. Try the ‘quiet zoom’ sessions if you’d like to reconnect with colleagues. 
  7. Find a ‘thought partner’, someone who is not your line manager, who you feel you can share and explore work issues or challenges with, and vice versa. Schedule time to speak to one another when issues or opportunities arise and another perspective would help.
  8. Refer to the Mind Working From Home Wellness Action Plan.
  9. Try the Yale University Wellness Course for further insights.  
  10. Do the 16 Personalities test and share it if you want to. Reflect on your communication style and that of your team members – what is it like to be on the receiving end of you? How do you like to give and receive feedback?
  11. Celebrate the small successes (as well as the big ones). You could keep a ‘done list’ instead of a ‘to do’ one, a simple technique to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Use the digital postcards to recognise others’ contributions and achievements.
  12. Take your holiday throughout the year including during lockdown 
  13. Assume everyone is doing their best (and read up on Brene Brown’s thoughts on this).

By the end of November 2020 we will have recruited 5 members of staff remotely. We’ve realised that it is hard for new starters to get to know the rest of the team and vice versa. To address this we have started to record and share short videos about ourselves to share some of the things we think people might naturally have learned about us if we’d be working in the same place. It’s been really great learning about colleagues and this is helping to make general communication easier.

 

UPDATE: Following the commencement of the third national lockdown in England, the whole CMP team are again working from home for the foreseeable future. For this reason, our Marketing Intern Natalie revived the CMP Remote Working Manifesto and ran a ‘Lockdown Work Life’ series on our social media channels, including wellness tips from the team. These have been added here for those who are interested!

 

Celine, Engagement Lead:

‘I’m taking my mandated exercise at dawn (see noble hound image above) and it’s been life-saving so far – makes the whole ft job + home-schooling marginally less painful!’

Natalie, Marketing Intern:

‘I’m making the most of the golden hour and getting up and out early to start the day off with some refreshing exercise, even if it is rather cold!’

Charlotte, Programmes Manager:

‘I’m making an effort to make a distinction between ‘work’ and ‘home’ so am getting changed at the end of the work day – simple but effective!’

 

Emmie, CEO:

‘I’m trying to do a daily commute – which involves going outside for the same amount of time I would have spent commuting at the beginning and end of the day.’

Jenna, Data and Insight Manager:

‘Getting the monkeys out for a runaround on the towans during our lunch breaks has been a massive saviour for us this week. Taking hot chocolate has been a good incentive for them too  And the view certainly helped too!!’

Karen, Office Manager:

‘In January 2020 I made a foray into crochet, taking classes at the Craft Collective in Redruth, Annelie asked at the first class why we were there?  Well I wanted to be able to make hats and within a few weeks I did indeed make my first hat. Along came Covid and Lockdown, I discovered the meditative quality of crochet, the constant physical repetition, counting and focus on the act of creating, stills my mind, and allows my body to relax.’

7 (Surprising) Health Benefits of Crocheting – An interesting article on the subject here.

Jody, Marketing and Impact Officer:

‘I’m making sure I spend at least 45mins a day outside, even in the rain, walking and exploring. I’ve found some wonderful mining trails right on my doorstep which I’d never have known were there. Oh, and I cuddle my dog Purdy at least 12 times a day!’